Purpose of the Space Program
Date: 1993 - 1999
Hello, I have a friend at the school I go too. He is
wondering what is the purpose of the space program.
Gee, what was the purpose of Christopher Columbus' voyage of
exploration? Why did and what good was Magellan's trip around
the world? Who cares if Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic?
What was the point of Sir Edmund Hillary climbing Mt. Everest?
The space program has many goals, all which are based on the human
need to reach out and grow.
As the population of the earth continues to rise exponentially, the
possibility of the earth becoming overcrowded one day is becoming more
and more real. The space program seeks to develop skills, technologies,
and opportunities to build new "worlds" for humans. The most immediate
project to that effect is Space Station Discovery, which will be a
launch pad from which a moon colony can be built. There are already plans
for a moon colony, and even a Mars colony.
Another tangible goal is to provide energy for the future. Learning to
harness solar radiation will provide a clean, abundant energy source for
the earth as well as future colonies and stations. Also, many "spin-off"
benefits are already being enjoyed by you and me: satellites providing
clear long distance communications, real-time weather monitoring,
topological study of the earth, etc. And how astronauts react physically
to the new environment of space will help space medicine prepare for the
health and well-being of future colonists.
I can go on and on. There are countless purposes of the space program,
but the greatest is perhaps just because the human spirit must continue to soar
to new heights!
Thank you, Wiz Kid, for a very intelligent and well thought out
answer to this question. Being a professional in the aerospace
industry, I have little patience with people who think space
exploration is a waste of time and money.
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Update: June 2012